Local News Articles

THP Urges Motorists Beware: Drunk Driving Will Not Be Tolerated on Halloween

October 30, 2009

Halloween is a fun night for both children and adults, but the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) remind parents, children and especially motorists to do their part to make sure that everyone gets home safely. The celebration can quickly turn into a real night of horror if someone is hurt by a carless or impaired driver.

“With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, we want to make sure revelers aren’t taking the party to the roadways, putting trick-or-treaters and responsible motorists at risk,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee will be out in full force arresting and removing drunk drivers from our roadways.”

Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher. Last year in Tennessee, eight people were killed in seven crashes on Halloween between 12:00 a.m., October 31, 2008, through 6:00 a.m., November 1, 2008. Four of those crashes involved alcohol. That compares to three people killed in crashes on Halloween during the same time period in 2007. One crash in 2007 involved alcohol.

“One foolish decision can turn a fun Halloween into a real nightmare,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “We want everyone to have a good time, but be smart about it. Designate a driver. This is your warning, because if you drink and drive, you will go to jail.”

Parents and children have a responsibility to be safe this Halloween too. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reports that fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under the age of 15) happen most frequently between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., prime trick-or-treating time. Parents should remind teens just how terrifying and dangerous and illegal it is to drink and drive. In 2008, 31% of young drivers, 15 to 20 years old, who were killed in crashes, had a BAC of .08 or higher. Drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking. In 2008, 63 percent of young drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were unrestrained.

There are simple precautions partygoers can take such as designating a sober driver in advance or taking a taxi. Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading out the door this Halloween.


Tips for Motorists

Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited – and they are not paying attention.
Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
If you are driving to a Halloween Party, put your mask on after you park the car.
Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.

Tips for Parents

Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.
Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.
Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians
(children and adults)

Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

Tigers Fall to Wildcats 35-14

October 30, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers dropped their regular season finale to the Livingston Academy Wildcats Thursday night in Smithville 35 to 14 and will now wait to see if they will get a berth in the state play-offs which begins next week.

In the game Thursday night, Livingston Academy got on the board first on a 10 yard touchdown run by Paul Daniels. The P.A.T. by Jake Huitt was good and the Wildcats led 7-0 with 8:26 left in the first period.

The Wildcats extended the lead with 2:53 left in the first period on a 30 yard touchdown run by Quarterback Brannon McCoin. The P.A.T. by Jake Huitt was good and Livingston Academy led 14-0.

The Tigers scored their first touchdown of the night with 7:17 left in the second period on a four yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Kevin Kijanski. The P.A.T. by Zach Taylor was good and the Tigers trailed 14-7.

The Wildcats struck again with 1:15 left in the second period on a 43 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Brannon McCoin to Creed Hayes. The P.A.T. by Huitt was good and Livingston Academy built it's lead to 21-7.

Livingston Academy took a three touchdown lead with 9:37 left in the third period on a Paul Daniels one yard run. Huitt's P.A.T. kick was good and the score was 28-7.

DeKalb County cut the lead to 28-14 with 1:12 left in the third period on a three yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Justin Bragg. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good.

The Wildcats added their final touchdown of the night with 4:52 left in the fourth quarter on an eight yard run by Quarterback Brannon McCoin and Livingston Academy went on to win 35 to 14.

DeKalb County concludes the regular season at 6-4 overall and 3-2 in District 8 AA.

As you adjust your clocks, change smoke alarm batteries

October 29, 2009

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman is reminding Tennesseans to change their smoke alarms’ batteries this weekend when they set back their clocks late Saturday night for central standard time.

“Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they’re providing the proper protection,” says Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”

Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.

Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke alarms, but it is estimated that one-third of them don't work because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if alarms appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There's no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.
Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:

• Smoke alarms should be installed in every room where an occupant sleeps, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, and be sure to teach it to any children who live in the home.
• When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

Alexandria Christmas Parade set for December 12th

October 29, 2009
Dwayne Page
Deb McCoy (left), Denise Barrett (right)

The 2009 Alexandria Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 12th at 3:00 p.m.

Deb McCoy and Denise Barrett, organizers of this year's parade, say floats, old vehicles, tractors, 4-wheelers, horses, and other entries are welcome. Anyone under the age of 16 must have an adult to accompany them in the parade.

All participants must line up at 2:00 p.m. and no later than 2:30 p.m. Prizes will be given away on the square following the parade.

Craft and food booth may be set up on or around the square . Please contact Deb McCoy at 615-948-6486 or Denise Barrett at 615-948-4829 for more information.

Habitat Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday, October 30th

October 29, 2009

Who makes the best chili in DeKalb County? Find out on Friday, October 30th when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 6th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale at the 303 Building on the square (next to the Chamber of Commerce). The location is being moved from the courthouse lawn to the 303 building due to rain in the forecast.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can purchase your bowl for $5.00, eat all the chili you want, and vote for your favorite chili and the best decorated booth. Handmade pottery bowls will be available for $10.00. Delicious baked goods prepared by members of local churches will also be for sale.

“We are looking forward to another great day of good food and fellowship at the chili cook-off,” said Tom Janney, president of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. “We are preparing the building site for our third home, and hope to begin construction as soon as possible,” said Janney. “The proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used towards building our next house and give us momentum to continue building in DeKalb County. A strong turn out for the chili cook-off will help get us there faster!”

At press time, those competing in the Chili Cook-off are: the “Sligo Canvas Shop Chili Toppers” from Sligo Canvas Shop, “Liberty Bell Peppers” from Liberty State Bank, “BTU Chili – Best Tasting Utility Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, the “Red Hot Chili Papers” from The Smithville Review, “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials, “Monster Mash” from the DeKalb County Board of Education; “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank; “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park; “The Bean Counters” from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates; “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance and The Inn at Evins Mill. The Allen's Chapel United Methodist Church will also have a team.

Last year, “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took the top honors for both Best Chili and best decorated booth. Second place was awarded to The Courthouse Gang’s chili and Bradley Printing’s decorations. The 2008 event raised approximately $3,200.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Pryor at 597-7370. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, call 215-8181.

BOPP Place Restrictions On Sex Offenders During Halloween Season

October 28, 2009

The Tennessee Board of Probation & Parole is again enforcing restrictions prohibiting the sex offenders it supervises from taking part in Halloween and other fall festival activities. Every state-supervised sex offender in Tennessee received a document detailing the restrictions, which apply to any Halloween celebration, festival or other fall/harvest activity.

Executive Director Bo Irvin said, “Our goal is to protect the safety of the public, especially children, throughout the Halloween season. In past years, this effort has been highly effective. By reminding offenders of the restrictions upon them, and the consequences of non-compliance, we make the harvest season safer for Tennessee families.”

The letters advise sex offenders that:

Neither they, nor anyone in their home, can answer the door to trick or treaters on Halloween;
They cannot pass out candy;
Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside;
They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes;
They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity;
They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences;
They cannot give any Halloween treats to children;
They cannot wear costumes and
They cannot take any child trick or treating.

Probation/Parole Officers have discussed the restrictions with sex offenders under their supervision, and the offenders signed statements acknowledging that they understand and will comply with the conditions. Officers are making visits, both announced and unannounced, to verify that offenders are abiding by the terms of their curfews and the other directives.

The Board of Probation and Parole ( www.tn.gov/bopp/ ) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on probation by criminal courts.

County Looking to Replace Two Fire Trucks

October 27, 2009
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Two of the fire trucks in the fleet of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, at the Johnson's Chapel and Keltonberg Stations, recently failed to pass inspection.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says one of the trucks has undergone a patchwork repair but the other one remains out of service.

Green came before the county commission Monday night asking for an emergency expenditure to obtain a 2009 demonstration truck from Oklahoma City under a lease-purchase arrangement and to take bids on the purchase of another 2009 model fire truck. "One of them was a 1974 Ford, the Keltonberg unit, and then there was a 1975 Seagraves which is the Johnson's Chapel unit that both failed inspections due to some major mechanical problems, specifically brakes and steering."

"One of them, the Ford, we were able to find some parts to get it back in service. It hasn't been re-inspected but we have got it back in service and it's over at Johnson's Chapel at this time. The other truck is a custom truck built by Seagraves in 1975 and we cannot get parts for it. We've looked everywhere and it's basically going to remain out of service because we can't get parts for it."

"One of the problems we've run into in looking for used fire trucks is that in the past, we've relied on some larger cities where they replaced their trucks on a ten year cycle. Well, with the economy like it's been, the only thing out on the used market right now is 20 plus year old trucks that are in bad shape. We've found a 2009 demo unit that's in Oklahoma City right now. But regardless, we've got our Keltonberg station right now that doesn't have a truck in it.We're asking for authorization to do an emergency purchase to get a truck."

"One of the issues is the urgency of this too. Starting in 2010, there's an emissions change that's affecting everything from dump trucks to any of the commercial trucks and it's going to result in about a $9,000 price increase from the 2009 to 2010 models. And that's just on the chassis. The apparatus dealers we've talked to so far say this will result in about a $20,000 increase on the total fire apparatus."

The county commission approved Green's request

County Commission Votes to Purchase Town and Country Shopping Center Buildings

October 27, 2009
Dwayne Page
Town and Country Shopping Center-
County Mayor Mike Foster
 Members of the County Commission

The former Town and Country Shopping Center may soon belong to DeKalb County.

By a vote of 10 to 0 Monday night, the county commission voted to purchase the 62,000 square foot complex. The property covers 5.21 acres and includes a large paved parking lot. A resolution authorizing funding for the purchase will be officially acted upon at the next meeting in November.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the shopping center buildings can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the public officials in the courthouse could relocate their offices to the shopping center, creating more room at the courthouse for the Circuit, Juvenile, and Chancery Courts. An archives room would also be built in the complex to store important county records.

Foster says the shopping center would still offer plenty of space for rooms or buildings that the county could lease to non-profit organizations or have available for civic functions and recreation. According to Foster, some of the uses that the buildings could potentially be used for include, adult education classes by the school system, night classes by Motlow State Community College, senior citizen events, meeting rooms, an exercise room, and recreation, including possibly a bowling alley. The Farmers Market might also be relocated to the shopping center property.

The purchase price for the shopping center is approximately $750,000 but some renovation and remodeling would be required, which would add to the costs.

Foster says all this can be done without a property tax increase. "We could help pay for it out of cash that we have in fund balance. There is currently a note that is paying off this year that has been costing us $85,000 a year. It funds that much debt service. It's already built into the budget. That (money) would go toward it (shopping center purchase). We're thinking fees that are put on some things recorded and an archives grant too could probably generate $40,000 to $50,000 to build a place to store these papers (records). Another part of it would be where we would rent some of it (shopping center) to some non-profit organizations. We think that could generate about $40,000 a year. So all those things (sources of revenue) together could service the $1.5 million debt without doing any kind of a tax increase."

Next month, the county commission is expected to authorize a note or bond issue for up to $1.5 million that would not only cover the cost of purchase and renovations to the complex, but also to fund other projects, including the purchase of a fire truck, the lease purchase of another fire truck, and to make roof repairs to a county owned shirt factory building downtown, where Omega hopes to add 112 jobs.

DCHS Band Places Second in Class at Highland Rim Marching Invitational

October 26, 2009
DC Band Boosters

The DCHS Fighting Tiger Marching band traveled to Westmorland High School for the Highland Rim Marching Invitational. And once again rain was an issue. Add to that the temperature was as cold as it’s been all year.

The Students met at the band room for a cold, early Saturday morning to learn and clean last minute drill changes along with the color guard learning last minute show additions. They were excited to show the audience the new things that had been added to the show.

When the band arrived at Westmorland High School they learned that the contest would be a “stand still” contest. Which means that, rather than marching the drill that they’d been cleaning on all morning, they would march out onto the field and play their music standing still. None of the new marching effects would be put into the performance.

The Westmoreland High School field was completely rain soaked and muddy. “This has been a condition that a lot of the contests are having this year” said band director Jonathan Wright, “we’ve dealt with a lot of rain this season.”

The results of the contest were still good. The DeKalb County Fighting Tiger band placed 2nd in Class behind Whitehouse Heritage High School. Field Commander Hunter Tramel also finished 2nd in class. The Color Guard and Percussion Section received the highest scores and won the gold in their class.

Mr. Wright says “this year our students are learning a lot more than music and marching. They’re learning how to prevail when the odds are against them”.

Now the band is preparing for their Halloween performance at the football game against Livingston Academy on Friday Oct 30th . “It’s been several weeks since we’ve performed in DeKalb County and this is senior night” says Mr. Wright” We’ll be honoring our seniors, and this show just might have a surprise or two”.

The final performance of the year will be the Division II State competition, on November 7th. This is a prelims/finals competition. The band will have to do well in their preliminary performance to make it to the finals. Some of the best Division II bands in the state will be at this contest.

The band and boosters would like to invite everyone out to either of these performance. You can visit the band online at www.dekalbband.com to find out the schedule and performance times.

Owens Charged in Burglary and Theft Investigation

October 26, 2009
Dwayne Page
Tyrone Owens
Chad Everette Knowles

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made another arrest in a burglary and theft investigation in which two others have already been charged.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 33 year old Tyrone Dewayne Owens of Shady Drive, Smithville was charged on Friday, October 23rd with three counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft over $1,000 and one count of theft over $500. Bond for Owens is set at $67,500. According to Sheriff Ray, county detectives discovered, during an investigation, that Owens was involved in the same recent burglaries and thefts as 49 year old Timothy Riley and 43 year old Martin Riley of Poss Road, Smithville who were arrested in September. Owens is accused of breaking into homes on Silver Point Road and Ponder Road. Among the items stolen from the homes were stainless steel refrigerators, stainless steel gas ranges, TVs, microwaves, night stands, cookware, vacuum cleaners, chairs, radios, and telescopes. Meanwhile, in another case, Owens is believed to have taken a Troy Built lawnmower from someone's property on Hurricane Ridge Road in Smithville. Owens will appear in General Sessions Court on November 19th to face the charges against him.

21 year old Cynthia Marie Shehane of Page Drive, Smithville was arrested Friday for filing a false police report. On October 20th, Shehane reported to a deputy that her 1995 Chevy Blazer had been stolen. After an investigation, the officer learned that Shehane had traded the vehicle and that it had not been stolen. Bond for Shehane was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on October 29th.

On Thursday, October 22nd, deputies responded to an accident on Sparta Highway and arrested 30 year old Robert Lee Nichols Jr. of E.H. Haas Road Dowelltown after he was found to be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Officers noticed an odor of alcohol on Nichols' person and he was unsteady on his feet. Nichols' submitted to field sobriety tasks but he failed. Upon a search of Nichols, officers found pills believed to be clonazepam and hydrocodone on his person. Nichols was arrested for driving under the influence, simple possession of drugs, and he was issued citations for driving on an expired driver's license, failure to maintain his lane of travel, no insurance, and violation of registration for his vehicle. Bond for Nichols was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on October 29th

19 year old Robert Earl Watley of Tramel Branch Road, Alexandria was arrested on Saturday, October 24th on a failure to appear warrant in which he was sentenced by the court to serve weekends in the DeKalb County Jail. Watley missed a total of six weekends. Watley's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on November 5th

On Sunday, October 25th, detectives arrested 38 year old Chad Everete Knowles of The Loop Smithville after officers stopped a vehicle on Highway 53 in Alexandria in which he was a passenger. Knowles was found to have in his possession a small bag containing three metal containers with a total of 240 dilaudid pills in them and another container which had two types of hydrocodone pills. Knowles was released on parole from the Tennessee Department of Corrections earlier this year and he relocated back to DeKalb County. Knowles had earlier been found guilty of possession of dilaudid and he had been serving a sentence on that charge. As a result of this latest offense, Knowles was charged with simple possession of a schedule III drug (hydrocodone) and possession of a schedule II drug (dilaudid) with the intent to sell and deliver. Detectives also seized $131.44 from Knowles believed to be money used in the drug trade. Bond for Knowles was set at $105,000 and he will appear in court on November 5th. More charges are pending in the case.

Sheriff Ray says the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Halloween this Saturday. He says the department will be on special patrols this weekend to help keep everyone safe. "This weekend, trick-or-treaters will take to the streets all over DeKalb County in search of candy and other treats. I would like to help ensure those little ghosts and goblins are safe and would like to offer a few tips to help make their Halloween a happy event. "

" Make sure your all of your children have eaten before they go trick-or-treating and give them some candy from home to eat while out to avoid the temptation to eat from their treat bags. Adults should check all treats before your child has a chance to eat it. Adults should look for faded or opened wrappers or other signs of contamination, like puncture holes. Parents should discard any homemade candy or baked goods in your child's treat bag unless received from someone you know and trust. If in doubt, throw it out.

" Leaving the porch light on is the universal welcome sign for Halloween and signifies the best places for children to trick-or-treat at. It is also very important to talk with your child about why they should not enter homes or apartments unless accompanied by an adult. Parents should remind their children about the dangers of talking to or taking items from people that they do not know.

" People who are welcoming trick or treaters to their homes should make sure their sidewalk area is clear of anything that could cause someone to fall. Pet owners should also make sure their pet is tied or penned away from walkways or porches where people will be traveling.

" Children should be reminded about running from house to house and urged to use the sidewalk if available, rather than walking in the street.

" Parents should also discuss the dangers of running out from behind or between parked cars and why it's important to stop at all intersections and look and listen for traffic before crossing any street.

" Sheriff Ray also wants to remind motorists to slow down and be alert on Halloween Night. Motorist needs to be on the look out for people crossing the street. Sometimes small children are hard for motorist to see. Also be careful about backing out from driveways. Try to back out slowly and look and listen for on coming traffic or people behind you.

" If the need arises for any assistance from Sheriff's Department, please call the Central Dispatch and a Deputy will be dispatched to your location."


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